If We Must Die
If We Must Die
by Claude McKay

Speaker Point of View

Who is the speaker, can she or he read minds, and, more importantly, can we trust her or him?

Just about every modern movie with a battle scene includes a leader who delivers a pre-battle speech inspiring and empowering his people to persevere and fight. You've seen it in everything from Braveheart to Independence Day to Avatar. And we get an incredible and inspiring (and not at all cheesy) version from the speaker of "If We Must Die." We picture the speaker of this poem like the leaders in those movies: a brave, noble, inspiring leader fighting on the honorable but underdog team. Though we don't know who the speaker and his allies are, or why they are fighting, we're confident that there's a lot at stake, and our speaker is on the right side.

How do you picture the speaker of "If We Must Die"?

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